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Asymptomatic Symptoms

Earlier this summer, I received a phone call that caused me to drop my glass cup on the floor right before heading into a Bible study. My doctor had called to tell me that the “routine” COVID-19 test I had taken was not so routine and that I had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease. The next few seconds were a blur, and I quickly popped into the Zoom Bible study feeling as if I had been hit with a ton of bricks.

I had COVID-19. What was going to happen to me?

A Positive Diagnosis 

I would be dishonest if I said that the news of the presence of this disease didn’t scare me to my core and steal that night of sleep from me. I felt as if every second was one where I overanalyzed the development of  the sickness for me or within my family. I worried for days after that, thinking about my household. And in the midnight hour, I found myself cracking open my Bible.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Was this virus serious? Yes. Was it scary? You bet. Was it larger than life? Seems like it. But in that moment, I was reminded of the absolute immensity of the God we serve, who in that the little black Bible, on my little white nightstand, on a foggy summer night would cause my index finger and thumb to land on that verse at that time in that place and with this diagnosis. I slept like a baby in the comfort of my king-size bed knowing I have a King-size God who would take care of me.

Asymptomatic Symptoms

For days after that, I waited. And waited. And waited. No symptoms. My doctor said I was “asymptomatic” to the virus, as was my family. Amazing! I praised God for His safety and His protection, which surrounded my family like a fence.

I started to think about that diagnosis: asymptomatic. I had the virus but didn’t have the symptoms. It was still within me, although people couldn’t see or experience it. It just didn’t affect me. Was I COVID-19 positive? Yes. Could anyone tell? No.

I started to think about it—that’s how God sees you and me.

Sometimes, we show our sin in our “symptoms” (deed and word). Those sins and demons are blatant, obvious, and destructive. They tear us down from the outside in.

But most times, our sin is “asymptomatic” (thought). These are the things we think that we never should have thought, things left undone, and biases we have yet to be released from.

A Cure for Sin

Whether we are symptomatic or asymptomatic, we are still in need of a cure—still in need of a Savior. God gives us Himself so intimately and packages Himself as a vaccine; we have no control over the way His Word interacts with the blood cells that course through our spiritual veins, making all things new. He transforms us on this side of heaven to walk closely with Him, and He holds us tight as new creations on the next side of heaven. His cure was provided for us on the cross when He provided us a joyous exchange of faith for failure. He did this to give us confidence of where we belong—with Him.

Hebrews 11:1 states,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

So, we become “asymptomatic” with something else. Though our faith is in things unseen—with His blood coursing through our veins and with His salvation as our promise—our faith in Jesus Christ become infectious.

This virus has us all on edge. Our anxiety is high, and our confidence may be low. However, we can trust the Word of Jesus when He tells us that He is our Rock and salvation—we have nothing to fear. We can have confidence in the faith gift that He gives us. His promises are real. His vaccine has passed the trials.

Take heart in this time. And be asymptomatic as He spreads the faith gift embedded within you.

Scripture: ESV®.

Find clarity in God’s teachings during these unclear times, and find comfort in knowing that He is guiding us all in Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic

Read about the Church and Covid

Written by

Gerard Bolling

Rev. Gerard Bolling was born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn, NY. From an early age, he always desired to serve God’s people in a greater capacity. One visit to Concordia Seminary and he was “sold out” on serving Jesus! Gerard attended Concordia Chicago from 2008 to 2012, earning a BA in theatre with a minor in languages. Gerard graduated from Concordia Seminary in 2016 with a master of divinity (MDiv) and received a call to serve at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the inner city of St. Louis. He had lead the Deaf Ministry at Bethlehem two years prior to receiving the call. He currently serves as pastor and co-executive director of the Lutheran Hope Center. In this role, he leads the Deaf Ministry team at Bethlehem while reaching out to youth and families in the Ferguson, MO, area in the aftermath of the Mike Brown incident. He also co-leads the dynamic weekly Bethlehem Church ministries (preaching, teaching, and leading outreach programs and community engagement) with the amazingly talented Pastor John R. Schmidtke. Their ministry is an innovation to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and a blessing to those whom they serve, who are often overlooked because of socioeconomic situations. Gerard is also an educator. He currently serves as an online adjunct leadership professor at Concordia University Texas; an online adjunct theology professor at Concordia University Texas and Concordia University St. Paul; and an online adjunct professor in the Nonprofit/Business department at Concordia University Wisconsin. He has spoken at numerous conferences, events, and venues within the LCMS, reflecting the love of Christ and promoting deeper conversations about deaf, urban, and cross-cultural inclusive ministry. In addition to serving as a full-time pastor and part-time professor, he is also a doctoral candidate in his research stage at Concordia University Wisconsin in the Leadership, Innovation, and Continuous Improvement (LICI) program. His research topic is Human Resource Development in Urban Ministry Structures of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as it Relates to Mentorship. He is set to complete his research by September 2020 and become Dr. Bolling officially. Gerard has been married to his beautiful wife, Lorenda, for six years. Lorenda serves as a preschool teacher at Word of Life Lutheran School. Together they have a four-year-old son named Lincoln and a two-year-old daughter named Monroe. Both kids were born on October 5 (in different years, of course). They currently reside on the south side of St. Louis, MO.


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